Sunday, November 9, 2008

Spot the Motorcycle

A picture is worth a thousand words.
The Honda rider was traveling at such a "very high speed", his reaction time was not sufficient enough to avoid this accident. Swedish Police estimate a speed of 250 km/h (155 mph) before the bike hit the slow moving car side-on at an intersection. At that speed, they predicted that the rider's reaction time (once the vehicle came into view) wasn't sufficient enough for him to even apply the brakes. The car had two passengers and the bike rider was found INSIDE the car with them. The Volkswagen actually flipped over from the force of impact and landed 10 feet from where the collision took place. All three involved (two in car and rider) were killed instantly. This graphic demonstration was placed at the Stockholm Motorcycle Fair by the Swedish Police and Road Safety Department. The sign above the display also noted that the rider had only recently obtained his license.
At 250 KM (155 mph) the operator is traveling at 227 feet per second. With normal reaction time to SEE-DECIDE-REACT of 1.6 seconds the above operator would have traveled over 363 feet while making a decision on what actions to take. In this incident the Swedish police indicate that no actions were taken.

This is very interesting to me. Kind of like different interpretations of art only on an entirely different level of seriousness.

In Sweden, based on the text accompanying the article, the interpretation could be as follows:

Swedish Lesson A: "Based on the "normal reaction time to SEE-DECIDE-REACT of 1.6 seconds", in order to save your life and the lives of the public, when riding your high powered race machine on public streets you must obey traffic laws and DO NOT EXCEED THE SPEED LIMIT.

Swedish Lesson B: "The sign above the display also noted that the rider had only recently obtained his license." This shows that some members of our public are too stupid to own high powered race machines even after passing the state-run training course. Therefore, HIGH POWERED RACE MACHINES MUST BE BANNED from our public streets in order to ensure the safety of our good citizens (like the two that were inside the Volkswagen).

In America, I believe that people would look at this in one of two ways.
First there is the view of many who identify themselves as Liberal: It's the government's role (because government should be smarter than the general population) to prevent and protect the population from stupidity.
American Lesson A: See Swedish lessons A & B.
Then there is the personal protection, personal responsibility viewpoint - Commonly held by Conservatives:
American Lesson B: In order to ensure the safety of you and your family, let this be another example: PROTECT YOURSELF. DO NOT DRIVE A TINY VOLKSWAGEN!
The outcome would have been entirely different if the rider had struck the side of an Armored-Up Hummer.
.The Hummer Owner and Passengers would be safe and may even have avoided a trip to the body shop.
As for the motorcycle rider, who in this case chose to ride at over 2X the speed limit on a public highway, his or her fate can be chalked up in the column labeled "natural selection".
Check out Ghostrider on Youtube and you will see what I mean.

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